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CFP: Sound and Vision, Interdisciplinary Approaches to the 1950s

May 10, 2016

Sound and Vision: interdisciplinary approaches to the 1950s
School of History, Art History and Philosophy, University of Sussex, 9th-10th June 2016
Call for Papers

This two-day workshop will draw together early career researchers and more established scholars working on aspects of the 1950s. The workshop is open to all those who work on the period, regardless of disciplinary identity and regional specialism. We are interested in papers on any aspect of British, continental European, US and world politics, society or culture in this period, especially those which place national cultural formations in a trans-national or comparative framework.

Popular, and even academic, understandings of the 1950s have been ambivalent, not to say contradictory. On one hand there has been a surprisingly resilient myth of the 1950s as a decade of conservatism, notably in regard to both gender roles and the formal domain of politics in Western Europe and the United States. On the other, adopting a more global focus has revealed the 1950s to be a decade of profound change, especially in regard to the changing geopolitical and cultural dynamic shift in power between the European and non-European worlds in the emerging era of decolonization and third world nationalism. The challenge for scholars has been how to make sense of, and to reconcile, such contradictions. This workshop is predicated on the notion that the only way to do this successfully is to collapse established scholarly demarcations, not merely between geographical spaces and historical events that have hitherto been treated discretely, but by adopting a genuinely interdisciplinary approach.

The workshop therefore aims to showcase methodological and theoretical innovation, seeking to draw conclusions about the current state of interdisciplinary perspectives as well as suggesting future directions for research. We are particularly interested in new ways of seeing and hearing the period and invite papers that explore how the 1950s have been screened, imaged and heard, as well as those that consider more rhetorical, discursive or political ‘visions’ of the decade?

Papers might address, though are not limited to, interdisciplinary and/or transnational approaches to:

– Film, radio and television
– Popular music
– Art, Photography and Visual Culture
– Design
– Fashion
– Architecture
– Oral Histories and Mass Observation
– Visualising the City
– Visualising the Home

Each panel of early career researchers will be chaired by a senior scholar who will respond to their work. We will ask delegates to circulate 3000 word papers in advance of the workshop in order to facilitate dialogue and debate.

Keynote lecture will be given by Professor Martin Francis, University of Sussex: ‘Ex-King Faruq of Egypt and the Modalities of 1950s British History: A Record in Sound and Vision’.
A follow-up conference will take place in 2017.

We hope to be able to provide some financial support to delegates to cover attendance costs.

Please send 300 word proposals for 20 minute papers, along with a short CV, to soundandvision1950s@gmail.com by May 10th 2016.


May 10, 2016
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